I just finished up summer school classes today. As a part of the class for the last few days, students had to create a choose-your-own-adventure story using Google Forms. At first glance, the project seems pretty big. There are several steps in creating the story, and getting it all to work out in Google Forms takes some patience and attention to detail. However, after having worked on the project with several students, I found that it is a pretty simple project once they get their minds wrapped around how it works.
This is where the problem rears its ugly head!
A good bunch of students do not like to wrap their minds around anything if they think it has to do with learning. It is amazing how many students would rather sit and look at the wall instead of using their allotted learning time wisely. I think that some of this is human nature, but some of it also has to do with the fact that thinking is work, something teens try to avoid like a kiss from aunt Susan.
This is where technology projects come in handy. Notice that I said technology projects, not just technology. Technology by itself is not the key to engaging students. A computer is only good if the task at hand is meaningful or has a purpose. John McCarthy says in his Edutopia article, “Igniting Student Engagement,” that there are three components to successfully egaging students:
- Connect skills and concepts to student interests.
- Engage students in professional dialogue with professionals in the field.
- Challengs students to solve a problem, design for a need, or explore their own questions.
This makes a lot of sense, and with technology, the possiblility of accomplishing these tasks is very real. Just think of how much easier all three of these suggestions are when using tech in the classroom.
Too many educators, and especially too many adminstrators, think that having a shiny bank of chromebooks in the front of the room take their rooms and schools to the cutting edge of technology. However, those shiny chromebooks are only good when the students use them to think and learn. Sure, wordprocessing and research are good, but put those skills to work in having a student creat a product that can be share with classmates and even the entire world.
The following links will give you a place to start when planning a technology project to use in the classroom:
- 10 Collaborative Techonlogy Projects Your Students Will Love
- Top 5 Tech Projects to Try With Your Students This Year
- 5 Cool Project Ideas to Steal